ATHENS – After so much drama and heartache in its previous game, Georgia made sure there was none of either this time. And it was a group effort.
Four different Georgia players reached double figures, the Bulldogs played nearly mistake-free, and they held on for a win it needed to have, 76-68 over Vanderbilt on Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
It was the third win in four games for the Bulldogs (12-6 overall, 4-2 in the SEC), who were led once again by Yante Maten (21 points), but got key baskets by Juwan Parker (17 points), J.J. Frazier (15 points) and Derek Ogbeide (11 points). And several other players provided key minutes as the Bulldogs committed a season-low six turnovers.
Vanderbilt (8-10, 2-4) continued to struggle under first-year coach Bryce Drew, but kept it close in the second half with good 3-point shooting.
– Player of the game: After his costly foul-out in Saturday’s loss at Florida, Maten stayed on the court and hit big shots on Tuesday. In fact he was only called for one foul, while pouring in 21 points. He only had three rebounds, a season-low, but teammates like Frazier and Parker (six rebounds apiece) and Mike Edwards (five rebounds) chipped in.
– Stat lines of the game: And after clearly being upset with the foul calls in the Florida game, Georgia had a free throw advantage that was more like a canyon: 34 attempts to just 6 for Vanderbilt. Maybe the officials swallowed their whistle in Georgia’s favor, but it also helped that Vanderbilt took a lot of 3s.
– Turning point: While Georgia had controlled the game basically from the tip, Vanderbilt made a run early in the second half, drawing within three. Mark Fox could have used a timeout, but it was close to time for the under-16 media timeout, so he decided to wait. The gamble paid off, as Georgia went on an 8-2 run – Frazier and Parker hit 3s and Joran Harris had a breakaway dunk – and instead it was Vanderbilt that called timeout.
– What’s next: Georgia goes back on the road – its third road trip in the past two weeks. This time it’s at struggling Texas A&M, which fell to 9-8 after a two-point home loss to Arkansas. Georgia, seeking to bolster its resume’, will be looking for its fourth road win, and fifth win away from home.
WHAT THE COACH SAID
“We had a great turnout from our crowd for a 9 p.m. game, so we appreciate everyone that’s in the car on the way home right now because (the fan support) makes a difference. We were concerned because the game was so physical Saturday that we weren’t going to have enough energy. How heavy-legged would we be? And I thought we played a little heavy-legged, but we played pretty efficiently. We didn’t turn it over, we got good shots at the basket, and I thought defensively in the first half we did an excellent job defending the three-point line. We were able to play from in front and in somewhat control of the game, although the second half we didn’t rebound nor defense, but we held on for the win.” – Fox